Question Placement: Best practice

16 September, 2019

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Question placement can have a great effect on response rates

Question placement can have a great effect on response rates. Keep the respondent in mind when creating your survey. You are asking for their time, their attention, their trust, and often, for personal information so the order of your questions in your survey will determine how your respondents will respond towards the survey.

Here are a few suggestions that can help steer you into perfecting your question placement.

The opening question:

The opening question is the first impression and sets the tone for the survey. This question should be uncomplicated and straightforward.

  • It should be relatively easy to answer.
  • It should not be an open-ended question.
  • It should have clear answer options so that the respondent does not need put too much thought into answering the question.
  • Do not set demographic/ personal questions as the opening question/s.

The flow:

Ensure that your survey flows and that you are not skipping from one topic to another. Segment topics by page and have a seamless transition to the next. Questions should be ordered in a way that will help respondents understand the purpose behind the survey.

Make sure that your most important questions are strategically placed within your survey. Placing important questions at the start of your survey may result in respondents loosing interest in the survey. However, placing important questions towards the end of your survey may also result in low responses for that particular question as some respondents might neglect to complete the survey. Therefore, it is advised that you pay extra attention to where your most important questions are placed within the survey.

The structure:

It is very important that the survey is not too long, so pay attention to the structure of your questions. Group questions into a Matrix (grid) question type where possible and make sure that questions are all relevant and not repeated.

In conclusion, it is best that you particularly pay attention to where your questions are placed to avoid respondents leaving your survey before completing it. Remember to ensure that your survey is set up in a professional manner so as to lead your respondents’ thoughts in a specific direction.

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